So far so good – or at least, not too bad – seems a fair assessment of how the financial crisis has so far treated hedge funds. Although some have collapsed, including two managed by Bear Stearns, and others have hit trouble, they have generally done better than big financial institutions.
One hedge fund manager I talked to this month estimated that hedge funds with equity of about $15bn had so far been mortally wounded in an industry that now manages $2,000bn of assets. He compared this to financial institutions such as Citigroup and Merrill Lynch (and now Bear Stearns) that had suffered more.
But I do not think we have yet seen the full impact of the financial crisis on hedge funds. As banks that have kept hedge funds in business by lending them money and providing other services pull back – and it becomes much harder to leverage equity with debt – some funds will face a colder climate.